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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Sharon G BS: Gaelic Roots and Paddy Glackin (10) RE: BS: Gaelic Roots and Paddy Glackin 25 Jun 02

Hi there I was also at Gaelic Roots for the fiddle classes- and I was one of the ones who WAS placed officially with Paddy Glackin. I have a lot of comments on this year's fiddle classes too.

The staff experimented with the structure of the classes this year and instead of having two teachers, fiddle students went to the same teacher morning and afternoon, based on the placements. I overhead Seamus Conolly say that the instructors felt there were very few "advanced" students, and considered most of us intermediate. (I have been playing Irish fiddle for 8 years, and though I'm not a Frankie Gavin either, I do perform regularly in concerts and play for dancers. So that was an "interesting" remark.

The placements were supposed to group students by ability. Overall, in my class that was mostly true, though I was aware of some inconsistencies. Another part of the problem this year was that the scheduling of Paddy Glackin's orginal class was not during the main lesson times, but during the "alternate" classes. Therefore, people who were in any of the other classes might have felt it was more of an "elective" class- the other options at that time were Scottish or Appalachian Fiddle.

In mild defense of Paddy Glackin, he appeared completely overwhelmed by the numbers that first class. He wanted to listen to students individually at times to correct them until they got it "right". There were far too many in the room for him to do that. Also, I think he was following the model of schools like the one at Willie Clancy week, which uses placements. Althouh Paddy is a great player, he didn't really have a lot of "charisma" and didn't connect personally with the students. Maybe it is shyness, or just personality. He relaxed more by the end of the week, but never enought to try to learn any of our names.

WHen I attended Gaelic Roots in 1999 and 2000, the well-known players each taught an "intermediate" and "advanced" class. In 1999 we self-selected the class. In 2000, Kevin Burke & Martin Hayes were instructors. There were supposed to be placements that time, but Martin got all the fiddle students together and told them to choose intermediate or advanced based on how quickly they thought they would learn the tunes by ear. I attended the advanced classes and felt like I was in the right level, though clearly not the most advanced student.

I was anxious about the placements in the first place- I thought for a long time about what to play, and decided on a set dance (the Blackbird) instead of a reel. I played about 8 bars, and asked, "Is that enough?" They indicated it ws, but to my surprise, Paddy Glackin then asked me "Can you play any jigs?" (in a way that sounded to me like he was asking: like- do you know how to play a jig). Okay..... so I did play part of a jig for them.

I actually had wanted to study with Brendan McGlinchey, and attended his 1st class and his "extra" class. I would have gone to his morning class everyday, but then they changed Paddy's class to 9 am and it conflicted. I was disappointed with this year's structure because I wanted to study with more than one of the teachers.. I think Seamus Connolly did try to fix it as best he could, but he had already painted himself into a corner with the next structure.

I sympathize with you Petr, because it wasn't what either of us expected. I hope you felt like it was worthwhile overall.


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